Monday 27 July 2009

Cherry Plum Cordial

First Cherry Plum recipe! This one is for Willow, as the fastest way to a 5 year old girl's heart is (apparently) a pink drink.

I weighed out 2 kilos of cherry plums, added 600ml of water and simmered gently til they were falling apart. The smell of the hot fruit at this stage was divine, delicate, sweet and fragrant. I helped them on their way by bashing up the fruit with a wooden spoon and a potato masher. I then strained the cooked plums in a jelly bag for several hours.

The resulting juice was measured and for every litre, 700g of sugar added (though this is variable to personal taste) I warmed the juice til the sugar dissolved and then used a scalded funnel to pour the cordial into warmed bottles.

Willow is currently very enthusiastically licking a variety of cordial covered cooking utensils, I think it's safe to say Cherry Plum Cordial is a hit! The taste is sharper than I anticipated, making it adult friendly too, add sparkling water and crushed ice for a sophisticated summer soft drink. Now all I need is some summer to go with it (sigh)


  1. Made a couple of litres of this yesterday, and it is lovely!

    Tried it with sparkling water and ice as a cordial - lovely. Then tried a bit with some Gin at night (as I decided not suitable to try and make like Sloe-gin as my plums too big to fit in the bottle LOL), and that too very more'ish.

    Finally tried it as a milk-shake, and was pleasantly surprised that it didn't split the (semi-skimmed) milk. Made a lovely change!

    I just wonder how long it will keep? I've put the bottles (1 a metal screw-top wine bottle, and the other a corked ex-sherry bottle) in the fridge to help.

    Any ideas as to it's keeping attributes?

    Going to try plum chutney in the next few days assuming I can find some more jars! (A batch of plum jam has already taken up those I already had).

    Great recipes though.

    Than you

  2. Milk Shake, what a fab idea, I'll have to try that one. I made a blackberry sponge over the weekend and poured cherry plum cordial over it and topped with whipped cream - v nice!

    It needs to be in the fridge really, will keep for a few months in there - though it never lasts that long in this house!

    Re plum chutney, there's also a recipe on the Cottage Smallholder blog which is really nice, if you're interested I'll post a link.

    I made a couple of plum liquers last year, plum shrub (plums and rum) and plums with whiskey. Both nice but nothing compares to sloe gin in my humble opinion. Can't wait for this year's batch after last year's appalling sloe crop!

  3. Thank you Tracey for your inspirational recipes! I came across your blog whilst searching for something to do with the load of cherry plums that my children and I had enthusiastically gathered. Having tried jam - two kinds, using both the red and the yellow variety of cherry plums - I had a go at your cordial recipe. Wow. What a lovely, delicate drink, and a gorgeous colour too. I'm having a hard time deciding whether to drink the lot, or keep it in the bottle so I can admire it a little longer!

  4. How nice of you to say so! I'm quite evangelical (is that spelt right?) about cherry plums and bullace having only discovered them this year. I was really surprised at how overlooked they seem in the wild fruit/foraging type books and recipe books too. I can't understand why they're not more widely discussed and enthused over, so I'm happy to spread the word!

  5. Tracey

    Do you still have your bottle steriliser from when your youngest was a baby. If so you can use this to sterlise your bottles of cordial/syrup although I would suggest smaller bottles like the Hex sauce bottles from Ascott. I did an article on my blog at Tarragon&Thyme blog if you are interested. I managed to acquire a sterilser second hand and basically once the bottles are up to boiling point I process the bottles with their lids on for about 15 minutes. And then leave to cool. The Elderflower I did this way is lovely. Processing the bottles this way extracts the excess air and forms a vacuum. However, once you open a bottle keep it in the fridge. I hope this helps, but if you want to know a bit more yell.

    Tricia (aka Pattypan)

  6. I don't have the steriliser any more I'm afraid but a really interesting idea, can you give us a link to the article on your blog? I'd love to find out more.


  7. Hi Tracey

    You might be able to pick one up second hand from freecycle etc. Mine came from a car boot a couple of years ago - I bought it as my step-grandson used to come to stay initially and then thought about using it with the preserving, but did not get round to experimenting until earlier this year. Hot water bath sterilisation in a baby steriliser can clean and sterlise the bottles and once this is done you can carry on fill the nice clean hot bottles and then add the contents and process once up to temperature for a minimum of 15 minutes. You do of course have to take into consideration the manufacturers instructions with regard to the individual steriliser used.

    my blog is tarragonnthyme.blogspot

    Experimentation with a bottle steriliser dated 26 June 2010


    Strawberry syrup/Coridal dated 27 June 2010.

    I procesessed all my elderflower cordial this way.

    But the beauty of this is that you can process small quantities at a time and you can more or less leave things to themselves whilst you are getting on with something else. Rather than having a pan on the cooker for goodness knows how long. This is ideal as well if you are only processing one jar or up to 6 bottles at a time and is so much quicker.

    Hope this helps but if there any questions YELL and I will try and help



  8. That's amazing, I'll be at the car boot sale at the weekend, sourcing cheap sterilizers!

    Many thanks for the idea.

  9. We picked 40kg of plums from the hedgerow today, extracted the juice using the steam juicer, bottled 2lts as cordial. Bottles sterised using the steriliser that is sold in Lidel(?) costing £35 but can sterilse 12 x 1 litre Kilner jars at once.

  10. Did you manage to get a vacuum seal to form in the steriliser?

  11. I also use a Campden tablet to stop any fermentation in elderflower and it keeps for 12 months easily

  12. Interesting, thanks for the tip.

  13. yes easily, you need to heat up so everything is the same temp, then remove from the steriliser, stand on an insulated surface until cool. As they cool the seal forms and with the Kilner jars you hear the distinct 'pop' as the lid seals.....

  14. Right - that's me off to Lidl tomorrow!

  15. I got mine in the spring this year and it gets used very regularly.

  16. Made our first batch of elderberry and clove cordial yesterday, tried sealing with crown corks, works a treat. Mind you still have lots left from last year, which proves it keeps well. Blackberry picking today.

  17. I tried this recipe and I must say it is rather nice...I used plums that I had grown in my was all gone very fast LOL.

  18. Thanks so much for sharing this, I've been looking for something different to do with my left over plums, I've made wine, jam, liqueur and crumbles already. They're terrific aren't they, so versatile. I really like your blog :-)